Strengthening urban health systems
Bangladesh is urbanising rapidly, with around one-third of the population now living in urban areas and the urban slum population growing at a very fast rate. Urban slum dwellers have the worst national health indicators according to national surveys (Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey, 2012). Women and children are experiencing poor health and health care providers are unable to meet the demand for their services.
We have worked to stengthen urban health services as part of the Urban Health Systems Strengthening Project (UHSSP), a component of DFID’s support to urban health in Bangladesh. UHSSP worked with the Government of Bangladesh and other partners to harmonise efforts to provide good quality services to those living in urban areas. We focused on providing care to vulnerable poor people, especially women and girls who live in the slums and on the streets in cities and towns.
We worked with the Government of Bangladesh, NGOs and other donor projects to improve the planning and provision of good quality health services to people living in urban areas. Our focus was to:
- Strengthen coordination between government and ministries. We supported the many partners – government ministries and departments, NGOs and donors – who are working on urban health to improve collaboration and coordination, and ensure efficient use of available resources.
- Institutional strengthening. We built the capacity of institutions involved in urban health planning and service provision, so as to strengthen service delivery.
- Data management and use of data for health planning. We developed IT infrastructure, systems and skills. We also trained staff to collect, analyse and use data to plan services in response to the needs of the urban poor.
- Demand-side financing and voucher schemes. We supported the innovative approaches to financing health services, including voucher schemes, so that the urban poor can access services that they would otherwise need to pay for.